Register a SA Forums Account here!
JOINING THE SA FORUMS WILL REMOVE THIS BIG AD, THE ANNOYING UNDERLINED ADS, AND STUPID INTERSTITIAL ADS!!!

You can: log in, read the tech support FAQ, or request your lost password. This dumb message (and those ads) will appear on every screen until you register! Get rid of this crap by registering your own SA Forums Account and joining roughly 150,000 Goons, for the one-time price of $9.95! We charge money because it costs us money per month for bills, and since we don't believe in showing ads to our users, we try to make the money back through forum registrations.
 
  • Post
  • Reply
Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



Selachian posted:

Catching up from a couple pages back, but what amuses me about the Mustard Mafia excerpt is how much contempt Smolensk lavishes on the idea that a PC might think to pick a pocket or cut a purse in the crowd. As if pickpockets haven't been making a living since, probably, the invention of the pocket.

I ran a short XXVc campaign back in the day and still have a bunch of stuff for it. It's a great setting but the rules let it down. I was working for a while on a conversion to the old Star Wars d6 system, but I never tested it out.

(Anecdote time! I never actually paid for any of the XXVc material. At that time I was working for Random House, which had a distribution deal with TSR. One of the advantages of working at a publisher is that you can get your hands on lots of free books -- everyone gets courtesy copies, and most people don't actually want most of what they get, so every floor had a book dump box where you could toss your surplus books and just take whatever you wanted. And since there apparently weren't many gamers at the company, a lot of TSR product ended up in the dump boxes. I used to sometimes come in on weekends, go floor to floor collecting TSR stuff, and then keep what I wanted and sell the rest to a game dealer for half price. And that is my corporate corruption story.)

Holy poo poo, did you get a copy of some of the other XXVc books? Like "No Humans Allowed"?

I used to have that book and it was great but I sold it during some desperate times and all the copies are super-expensive now.

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

Freaking Crumbum
Apr 17, 2003

Too fuck to drunk




Nessus posted:

Both of them also invest the characters' supernatural powers in a secondary character/representation connected symbolically to them, which is probably the go-to factor here.

for me, it's mostly this. it feels like the ghost is what's giving you all of your powers, and the in-setting fiction where the two different characters had their ghosts kind of squaring off and growling at each other could be a literal battle scene from any of the later jojo series

the first 2 (or 3?) seasons were about using special breathing techniques to punch vampires to shreds (said vampires may/may not be aliens from another planet, but it also might be a magical curse that can be transferred via enchanted objects) which is probably closer to what you can do just playing requiem

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018



Night Horrors: The Tormented
Part 23: Remember Those Radiation Rules Now


This lady is Azoth 8. She is Intensity 5, all times.

Frances Dynes was born in 1929, made using the body of a woman who was assured the glowing paint she was using was safe. It wasn't, of course - it was just radium paint. Women used it to paint their nails, skin and lips, used it on brushes they licked to a fine point for watch faces, that kind of thing. For some women, the radiation poisoning was minor - something ugly done to them that would not have obvious effects for decades. For others, it was more immediate and terrible. Frances was baptized in radium salts, slowly poisoning everyone around her. It took her creator only three weeks to die. Of course, the world around her still believed radiation could heal thanks to various advertisements by produced of radiation-based "therapies." For a time, Frances attempted to use her powers to heal, but...it never really worked. Disquiet turned her would-be patients against her and each other, and it would not be until the atomic bomb that Frances realized the truth of her nature.

For a while, nuclear proliferation pushed Frances to try even harder on her Pilgrimage. She worked as best she could, put her heart into all of it, even made another of her own kind. And yet, for all her work, she lost herself to fatalism as mutually assured destruction became the order of the day. There was no point in being human, after all, if she was just going to die in a nuke blast. She was certain the fate of humanity was death in the nuclear fire, and that only the Zeky would survive - and they would one day follow in human footsteps to their doom. It would be an eternal, atavistic cycle of birth and death, and she wanted to put an end to her part in it. In a sense, Frances remains a pilgrim now - she travels between Superfund sites throughout the US and other, less known radiological spills. This is because these spots are good hiding places for Zeky, and she's hunting them, especially those trying to make more Zeky. In each location, she hides Pandorans eager to feed on radioactive Pyros. She doesn't particularly like her Pandorans, which tend to take the form of gigantic cockroaches or carcinoma monsters, but they serve her purpose.

Frances has no particular hatred of Prometheans outside the Zeky, despite being Centimanus. Most she sees only as a means to an end - generally, maintaining the life of her Pandoran minions. Some she pities or even sees as potential apprentices, especially if they, like her, hate the Zeky, or even just a specific Zeka. Sometimes, she uses these Prometheans to flush out others of her kind, and sometimes she just sees them as friends for a time. She's been alive for far, far too long, and even the most vicious Centimanus sometimes just wants to talk to someone that won't immediately die around them. (Except, y'know, non-Zeka Prometheans still will.)

Frances is a slight woman who appears to be white, in her late 20s and dressed in conservative, often dated clothes. Her face is smooth with the practiced effort of not smiling, and when her disfigurements are revealed, her hands glow faintly, as do her teeth, save for where the welling blood of her gums hides them. Her skin sags slightly and appears fragile and sunburnt, as if she is collapsing inward. She is open, honest and friendly, but in a way that is rather offputting to most people she talks to - she treats them as confidantes even though they've just met. She is curious, even sympathetic to others - even when she actually sees them mostly as resources. She always asks after the throngs of Prometheans she talks to, especially if they mention meeting a Zeka. She has many questions, as if seeking something particular, and may take young Prometheans under her wing (or would if they didn't die in minutes), whether they want her help or not. She does not like other Centimani at all, seeing them, at best, as realists and at worst as intruders with no regard for others.

Frances is not aware of the mystic power built into her or how long she's going to live. She has a deep understanding of how other Prometheans work, having studied herself and others extensively before falling to Flux, and she knows that she is ultimately doomed to death for ending her Pilgrimage. She's actually somewhat looking forward to it. Unfortunately for her, because of her Bestowment, she's not going to die when she expects to, and it's unlikely she's going to take that well. Despite her best efforts, she has never found her child, whom she made out of the body of a man dead of sepsis, a former rock collector who just had to have some radioactive minerals. She made him and abandoned him quickly, thinking it'd be best to distance herself. Part of Frances is distressed by the belief that, to truly finish her task, she's going to have to kill her son, and another part is terrified that he's succeeded where she couldn't and has become human somehow.

Frances has set up a false identity as a Department of Energy inspector (loving how?) responsible for checking on storage facilities of nuclear waste, getting her access to radiation when she needs it. Most site managers assume their innate dislike for her is because she's a self-important bureaucrat with too much power, rather than because she's magically causing them to hate her with her very nature. Unlike most Prometheans, she has official access to the premises, which makes it easier for her to hang out there. If that fails, she is unafraid to kill her way out of a facility, however. And, y'know, everyone around her loving dies. She tends to sell this as accidents happening with the waste storage. Before it became clear to her that humans could never use radioactive power safely, she was a vocal environmentalist who fought to end nuclear research and weapons proliferation. She believed in it enough to kill for the cause, and to this day, the FBI has mugshots of her. Accurate ones, because Frances doesn't age...which may be why the government doesn't usually take sightings seriously, since they got those mugshots in the mid-60s. Frances also hides stashes of nuclear waste, stolen from labs, in sites around the country to help her travel and heal. She has left Pandoran guardians to watch over them, as she thinks of them as her private property. Occasionally, mortals discover these dumps or accidentally build things on top of them, which...well, causes a lot of radiation sickness when it happens.

Frances is, again, an Azoth 8 Zeka. She doesn't really excel at any stat except Presence and Wits, but is decent at all of them. She has a wide array of scientific and academic knowledge, along with being a decent shot and an excellent survivalist. She's also very persuasive and good at talking to people, not that I imagine she'd ever get much chance to use it. She's able to weaponize Disquiet and increase tensions, wield the nuclear Alembic, hurl acid, Wastelands and Pandoran control around, and is good at using Pyros to fuel her stats and can tap into social merits through it. Which would, again, be useful if she wasn't lethally radioactive. She's a poor fighter but that doesn't really...matter. Her Bestowment is Half-Life, which lets her survive far longer than a century. At the end of her alloted lifespan (whatever that happens to be in the GM's head), her Azoth gets halved and the interval starts over. If she dies, she can activate this to return to life in the middle of a Firestorm by halving her Azoth.


Azoth 6. So she's also Intensity 5 all the time.

Judith "Red" Gray was born because of the "cursed" Demon Core. It was present when the nuclear age began, as a softball-sized mass of plutonium and gallium meant to kill hundreds of thousands. World War II ended three days before it was scheduled for attack, and so it was set aside for experimentation. Days later, it fatally poisoned a scientist during a reactivity excursion, though it took him 25 days to die. Within a year, the core had killed again. It was scheduled for use in atmospheric testing - a series of tests that made far more fallout than was intended, incidentally - but its use was delayed due to repeated accidents leaving it too radioactive. The test was canceled. According to history, the Demon Core was melted down and used to make other cores, ending its short but deadly life. Many scientists at Los Alamos certainly wanted it gone, knowing that something was using it to kill, but parts of the government found its curse too alluring.

Red was born when the Core was implanted into her chest. When it first slammed home there, she awakened, and it has kept her going ever since. She was designed as a soldier for the American government, a soldier with no fear of radioactive battlefields and fission warheads. She was the prototype, created from a dozen or so bodies by a dozen or so scientists intending her to be a weapon. No other experiment succeeded, even as she watched the cores get dug out of their corpses. She listened to the scientists worry about project cancellation, and she realized they'd tear out the core from her chest if she didn't escape. Within a month, three scientists died by their own hand or by murder thanks to her manipulation of them. Others she poisoned with radiation in the air, water and walls. She tunneled her way out after the government wrote the place off and buried it to trap the radiation underground. When she first saw the sky, she understood jealousy for the first time. She felt the heat of the sun and knew she wanted to burn just as bright.

For the first few decades, Red struggled to find her path, dreaming of twin suns, thunder and burning heat cooking her through. She left Wastelands behind her wherever she went, stuck on the Refinement of Flux. She only briefly sought humanity, then rejected it again, over and over, thanks to feeling so much hate. Half a dozen radiological scares are her fault, thanks to her inability to control herself when surrounded by humans that hated her. She at last found the truth when she met another Promethean. Learning from that, she decided to not hate humans but study them in all their self-destructive nature. She watches humans make themselves inhuman, for seeing this is the only thing that has ever let her control the reactor that is her heart. It gives her hope that, perhaps, humanity isn't so different from her. While she is no longer Centimanus, she still suffers from her monofocus on hate and suffering. Still, she knows all too well what happens if she ignores the rumblings of the Demon Core - the migraines grow worse, the blood flows fast, and sooner or later she stops caring about the damage she causes. What else can she do?

Red has done her best to alter her own body to appear closer to her self-image, but some parts of the men used to make her remain in her broad shoulders and strong chin. She wears her dull red hair short, because her radioactivity tends to burn and split the ends of it. She claims her nickname is because of the hair she dyes red, but in truth it's because of the blood in her saliva, mucus and tears that reddens her teeth and eyes. When her disfigurements are visible, blood flows from her eyes, nose and mouth, and the normally seamless joins of her components stand out with burn lines. She dresses as best she can, favoring leather and studs, but she has to change them fairly often to keep the heat from making them tick. She is standoffish, only allowing others close when she hopes to feed their (or her) dangerous impulses or thinks she can get something from them. When she's interested in something, she becomes focused, attentive and overly forward. She likes to ask uncomfortable questions and is very perceptive. She's been around over 70 years and is quite hard to shock these days, having seen and caused the depths of depravity. She chain smokes despite 30 years of watching PSAs, largely because it makes her blood flow slightly less easily.

Red thinks she hides her habit of driving people to the brink of anger and pain so she can watch how they explode and see who they take it out on. Unfortunately for her, she's not as subtle as she thinks she is. There is a single FBI agent who's been around since J. Edgar Hoover who's been keeping a map. The map is marked with assaults, burglaries and murders that the man has connected together and next to each is a grainy photo of the same woman, moments before each event. It isn't possible - she hasn't changed much if at all since the 60s, after all. But it's a case, and he's a dogged, relentless investigator who isn't about to accept impossibility as an answer.

Once, in 1979, Red broke into Three Mile Island. She used the reactor and her fathers' notes to create a child. It was the worst decision she ever made, because it worked. She and her child let off terrible pulses of radiation whenever they were together, and she had no choice but to flee in order to avoid flooding the entire state with radiation. This, the game suggests, is the real cause of the Three Mile Island accident. Red tends to leave a trail of accidents, actually - tainted groundwater when she goes into hiding in parks to recover, for example. Once in a while she gets assaulted, and her blood gets on her attackers. And burns them, because it's radioactive. Once, she got assaulted so badly she left bloodspatter all over a bus station, which ended up killing her attacker hours later and sickening several of the cleanup crew during the investigation.

Red is fairly average for a Promethean, but very manipulative. She's surprisingly good at engineering and building stuff, as well as nuclear physics. She's a decent brawler and markswoman, but her real talent is socializing. She's good at reading people and talking them into things, either by persuasion or bullying, and she's an excellent liar. She's good at tempting people to give in to their impulses and desires, she can smell poison and disease, she can purge it from people or make it worse, she can hit people to knock them out with pain, she can confuse and misdirect people's thoughts and perceptions, she can make people feel guilty, unconfident or depressed to the point they can't spend Willpower, she can alter her physical appearance, terrify people with a hideous visage, blend with a crowd or even grow and shrink her own body and alter her gender expression. She can also mystically convince people to reveal their secrets to her out of guilt or make them broadcast their secrets to others. She even has a unique power, Game Theory, that lets her more easily convince people to do what she wants at the risk of possibly irradiating them. Except she's lethally radioactive at all times.

God, that errata to how Zeky radioactivity worked was the worst idea. But even a slightly saner Azoth/2 Intensity-level radiation as your 'natural' Zeky radiation gets pretty nuts - Frances, at Azoth 8, would still be unable to interact with anyone for more than maybe five to ten minutes before they started coughing up blood. Red would be better off, able to interact with people for a week or so before that started to happen, though.

Next time: The Pyros Devil

I Am Just a Box
Jul 20, 2011
I belong here. I contain only inanimate objects. Nothing is amiss.



Freaking Crumbum posted:

the first 2 (or 3?) seasons were about using special breathing techniques to punch vampires to shreds (said vampires may/may not be aliens from another planet, but it also might be a magical curse that can be transferred via enchanted objects) which is probably closer to what you can do just playing requiem

You could probably reskin a few Hunter Endowments and homebrew a couple anti-vampire protection powers to do Hamon: the Vigil

More importantly, the stone mask isn't an enchanted object. It just stabs needles into the human brain at exactly the right angles and pressures to awaken the human brain's inner potential: turning you into a Cronenberg vampire with mesmerizing, zombie-raising blood who turns to ash at the touch of the sun.

The brain's kept back from doing that because it hasn't been stabbed in the right places. That's just science.

Joe Slowboat
Nov 9, 2016

Higgledy-Piggledy Whale Statements





I feel like tying Zeky radiation to Pyros expenditure and Disquiet buildup might work better, and also having it be more 'long-term low-level radiation' outside of Wastelands. Let them talk to people normally, with maybe a permanent intensity 1 radioactivity if you absolutely must. Also don't have 'personal radioactivity from powers' and 'environmental intensity' run on the same rules. Just say 'when the nuclear core vents Pyros, everyone present takes one bashing/one lethal/one aggravated, and mortals who take agg from this get cancer' or something like that. Maybe have a power that lets you blast high-intensity radiation on purpose in an area, but... playability! That's the key!

Wastelands, yeah, should be horrifically radioactive if the Zeky screws up. That's just frankenscience.

Chernobyl Peace Prize
May 7, 2007

Or later, later's fine.
But now would be good.



I think more than anything, the Zeky in 2e suffer from having to graft some sort of granular micro-radiation system for "what if Disquiet, but radioactive too" onto the existing CoD 2e rules for radiation that treat radiation as an environmental hazard (and thus, a pretty basic check on "here's a thing to prep for and avoid and if you don't this is the bad thing that happens"). So you end up with rules for a campaign setpiece having to float atop some napkin-math for what's ostensibly a playable character type.

You could hack it into (Azoth - Pilgrimage)/2 = Intensity in a scene during which you spent Pyros, but even then it's not addressing the underlying WoD/CoD problem of rules that love to be rules-lite until they suddenly decide to be very, very crunchy.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

I'd toss the whole radiation thing completely. I've never met a game where it's remotely fun to deal with radioactivity. Just use it to flavour their Wastelands and Firestorms.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018



Night Horrors: The Tormented
Part 24: BY JOVE

The Jovian is...weird. I don't recall him from Promethean 1e, but I also didn't pay a ton of attention to 1e's later books. The Jovian is an entity that encourages Prometheans to treat the Pilgrimage as something that isn't urgent. Humanity, it tells them, is not something lofty - it's just...something. You can settle for it. Azothic memory pushes you to it, but you don't have to obey instinct in all things, he says. You can resist! You can be something immortal, powerful and wise! Just avoid the path of least resistance - which is the Pilgrimage, isn't it. Not that the Jovian is telling the truth, of course. It lies a lot. Once it latches onto a throng or Promethean, it is an insidious and dangerous force. It doesn't want Prometheans to wholly abandon the Pilgrimage, and has no use for Centimani. Rather, it wants them to remain on the Pilgrimage indefinitely, never really progressing or achieving milestones. It wants the New Dawn to always be a lie, but a lie that is believed.

The Jovian is an ephemeral being, but it's no spirit or ghost. It can enter the Twilight state at will, but usually prefers the solidity of a body. It needs not eat, sleep nor any other biological function...except breathing. It appears to need to breathe, at least insofar as it has been killed before by drowning and smothering. Death rarely stops it very long, though. When its body dies, it vanishes for bit - anywhere from months to seconds. The length of time seems to have little to do with it healing and more with whether or not it feels like loving with you still. It may reappear in the same form it was killed in or another. So...what is it? The game presents several potential explanations, but leaves the ultimtae nature of the Jovian up the GM, and indeed suggests that having an actual explanation of the Jovian may not even be helpful, unless the PCs are intended to destroy it permanently or learn the truth about it. If they're just escaping it or imprisoning it, what it is apparently doesn't matter.

Possibility 1: The Jovian is a qashmal that has somehow escaped its mission. Possibly it was a Lilithim meant to spread doubt or an Elpidos that became jealous of Prometheans and their ability to become human. Either way, it clearly has a great mastery of Pyros and understanding of the Promethean condition, and many things it can do are similar to qashmal powers. If this is true, it is unclear how it would have escaped its mission, though...unless it didn't. It's possible that its mission is, indeed, an isidious and decades- or centuries-long quest to push Prometheans off the Pilgrimage. If so, then why? There would after all be no clear reason for the Principle to want this, given it seems consistently to push Prometheans towards the New Dawn.

Possibility 2: The Jovian was a Promethean, once. There have been Lineages in the past that rose and fell, and no longer exist. It is possible that the Jovian was one of these, somehow detached from its physical body. Prometheans can't do that normally these days, but lost Lineages had unknown powers. If this is true, it means that the Jovian failed so amazingly badly at its Pilgrimage that it went past being Centimanus and somehow performed some kind of anti-Pilgrimage. This would have any number of metaphysical and philosophical ramifications for Prometheans, including the possibility that others could somehow follow it, or that Flux is not the only negative Refinement out there - the anti-Pilgrimage might have others. The Jovian might not even be a unique being, but a class of beings on this anti-Pilgrimage.

Possibility 3: The Jovian is actually a spirit of Disquiet. It would of necessity be an extremely powerful spirit, probably rank 6 or higher. However, its ability to easily enter Twilight is like a spirit's, its control over Disquiet and Wastelands is reminescent of Influence, and its obsessive, amoral focus on pulling Prometheans off the Pilgrimage is similar to the obsessive nature of spirits. If this is true, the Jovian must have a Bane and a Ban, and it could theoretically be permanently banished or destroyed by using them. The weaknesses of such a potent spirit would be very hard to learn and use, of course, but doing so would burn a throng's legacy into the Azothic memory forever.

Possibility 4: The Jovian is a lie in the Azothic memory. Prometheans often rely on Azothic memory to guide them, to give them a common language of the Pilgrimage and to have any kind of Promethean culture. They trust it, perhaps far more than they should - though the Extempore have no access to it. It is possible that the Jovian is a flaw or echo in the Azoth from an ancient time before Prometheans were fully formed. It might also just be a cancer of the Azoth, the result of centuries of frustration, doubt and hate flowing into the Azothic memory. If this is true, then any Torment only compounds the issue, as does every Promethean that gives up and becomes Centimanus or even, possibly, those who suffer doubts about the Pilgrimage. And yet, it is impossible to never do any of those things. Doubt and Torment are part of the Pilgrimage itself. Is the Jovian then unavoidable? Could the infection be purged somehow? Doing so would likely require deep study of the more complex Refinements, particularly Quicksilver, Lead, Silver and Cobalt, and might require the creation of specialized Athanors.

Possibility 5: The Jovian is an Abyssal entity. That is, a being of anti-existence and impossibility from the realm of the Abyss, from Mage. If so, it is a very powerful one, since it's...still around, but that's possible. The Jovian works to degrade Prometheans and turn the Pilgrimage into an endless treadmill, increasing the entropy of the world. If this is true, you probably want a Mage crossover, though it isn't required. If the Jovian is a Gulmoth, it has considerably more and bigger goals than just preventing Prometheans from becoming human. It wants to make the world more like the Abyss. What does that mean for Prometheans? Is their constant existence more Abyssal, more anti-existence, than a world in which they become human? Does this mean that their Pilgrimage is a natural and real place in the world for them?

Possibility 6: [/b]The Jovian is an angel of the God-Machine[/b]. The God-Machine is an ancient, ineffable existence. It has no specific interest in Prometheans, but its plans are labyrinthine and unknowable. The Jovian could easily be one of its angels, created for some specific purpose. Why would the Machine need Prometheans to stagnate on the Pilgrimage? It might not. The Jovian might target specific Prometheans, meaning that it's less about Prometheans as a whole losing ground on the Pilgrimage and more about these specific ones doing so. This likely would mean the goals of the Jovian are some hyper-specific butterfly effect, its mission a metaphysical Rube Goldberg device. If this is true, then it means the God-Machine is taking an interest in the Principle and Prometheans to a degree it has never done in the past. Of course, the God-Machine has a weird relationship with time to begin with, so retrocausal stuff is entirely possible, and it may actually need the Prometheans to do specific things in resistance to the Jovian, with its entire mission being to provoke them into that.

No matter what, the Jovian doesn't fight. It never attacks its targets or even threaten them. It serves as a tempter and nihilistic enabler. It tries to keep its targets focused on trivialities. It is perfectly willing to help a Promethean achieve some minor milestone if doing so takes the focus off a more important one. It also recognizes that many throngs tend to take turns - that is, they'll focus on one member at a time in achieving goals on the assumption that their own turn will come eventually. Thus, the Jovian tries to keep attention focused on whoever has made least progress, keeping everyone else from progressing and keeping this one Promethean focused on unimportant things. It hides its true goals as long as possible. It rarely pretends to be human or even Promethean, but is happy to let its targets assume it's a qashmal. It plays the stereotype - minor magic, cryptic advice and being friendly but aloof. It will answer questions about the Promethean condition, humans, Alembics, Refinements and so on, but always with the goal of keeping the Pilgrimage stagnant. It doesn't want Centimani and will steer them away from Flux or even help them defeat Centimani they can't avoid. It is happy, however, to help its targets get involved with other supernatural critters as much as possible. With a few rare exceptions, apparently, there's very rarely much progress on the Pilgrimage to be found hanging out purely with otherworldly beings.

What are the mechanics of the Jovian? It has no stats. It cannot be killed. Its mind cannot be changed, and it's immune to any magic the PCs use on it unless it wants to be affected. It is immune to...pretty much everything. It can change its form at will and can appear as a human or animal. Its body can be wounded, but doing so doesn't do anything useful. It knows everything accessible to the Azothic memory. It can also sense what milestones a Promethean needs toa achieve the New Dawn, though it rarely does anything helpful with this knowledge. Extempore, as a note, don't have access to Azothic memory, and it is possible that the Jovian cannot access info about their milestones if the GM wants. Or not. The Jovian does not wield Numina like most ephemeral beings do, as it has no stats. However, it can do things to PCs if it wants, and the book says to give the PCs a Beat (read: 1/5 of an XP) whenever it does because they can't resist it at all because it operates on fiat. It can increase Disquiet, worsen Wastelands, awaken Pandorans, turn Pandorans into sublimati, force Pandorans to form praecipati, make Elpis vision failures worse (so basically you hallucinate awful horrible bad thing memories), create Firestorms and force Prometheans to test for Torment. At will. It may, optionally, have a Ban or Bane. Or it might not. GM decides.

The Jovian cannot manipulate the Pyros or Vitriol inside a Promethean, at least, and cannot directly interfere with a Promethean fulfilling a milestone. Also, a Promethean attempting the generative act is a milestone,s o the Jovian can't do things like steal the materials involved, desecrate the body or start a Firestorm to interrupt it.

So how do you defeat the Pyros Devil and his lying rear end? The book presents three possibilities:
1. You can't. All you can do is trap it in a Jovian Athanor, which you are going to have to create as normal and may need to enter Torment to complete. Once you have it, it sucks in and traps the Jovian and becomes a cursed item.
2. The New Dawn banishes the Jovian. If a Promethean achieves humanity in its presence, the Jovian melts away, perhaps forever, or perhaps banished from the world until the new human dies.
3. With the proper powers you might be able to trap the Jovian in the Azothic memory by forcing their way into its part of the memory, experiencing it and trapping it inside some of their own humours.
4. ???

Also, enjoy this final bit of poor editing.


Ad

I don't really find the Jovian to be particularly useful or interesting, myself, but...well, it's interactable at least.

The End.

Joe Slowboat
Nov 9, 2016

Higgledy-Piggledy Whale Statements





The Jovian feels both over- and under-developed. The basic idea is good, since The Terrible Trivium was one of the better monsters from The Phantom Tollbooth, but the implementation is a little too untouchable. Personally I'd give it standard human-ish stats, a few weak unique powers, tons of info, an untouchable mind (to keep that info locked up) and then also any time you kill or immobilize it, it shows up in a new body later unless you fulfill the applicable conditions.

The Jovian is here to help, hard to get rid of, and the 'help' is universally bad. About on the same level, as an antagonist, as the Lethean Abyssal Entity from Mage - a really solid storyline or two, then done.

I can also see having the Jovian as an antagonistic NPC you go to for information while knowing their advice is poison somehow, after the initial realization of what exactly it's up to.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018



As a bit of postmortem, I am also going to note why I think the last half of the book ended up being so anemic. See, this book was in the middle of editing when Matt McFarland was credibly accused of rape. He was the developer on this book, and he got fired and taken off the project while the book was in editing hell. I suspect that the reason the tail end of the book is the way it is is because there was a scramble to get the book back on track and finished in the chaos surrounding Matt's firing.

Humbug Scoolbus
Apr 25, 2008

The scarlet letter was her passport into regions where other women dared not tread. Shame, Despair, Solitude! These had been her teachers, stern and wild ones, and they had made her strong, but taught her much amiss.


Clapping Larry

Halloween Jack posted:

Gamma World is a good example of what I mean when I say that TSR needed more unified design. Design was improving at TSR...everywhere but AD&D. Gamma World 3e, Marvel Super Heroes, and The Conan Role-Playing Game were designed by Zeb Cook according to the current trend of having a unified mechanic with a single Master Action Chart for task resolution. Star Frontiers had a simple intuitive percentile system.

Gamma World 4e was a cleaned-up AD&D, and so was Buck Rogers, I believe.

BECMI/Rules Cyclopedia was still D&D, but its rules additions managed to rise above the level of cruft. It had skills and Weapon Masteries that were also a proto-feat system, and I'll take it over AD&D any day.

I, no lie, adore the Star Frontiers ruleset. It's remarkably clean and useable for a game that came out in 1982.

Selachian
Oct 9, 2012



Young Freud posted:

Holy poo poo, did you get a copy of some of the other XXVc books? Like "No Humans Allowed"?

I used to have that book and it was great but I sold it during some desperate times and all the copies are super-expensive now.

/rummages around basement

Nope, no No Humans Allowed. I could have sworn I had a copy, but I guess not.

I do have Buck Rogers in the 25th Century (the adventure), Earth in the 25th Century, The Belt, Mars it25C, NEO it25C, Hardware, Luna, Phases of the Moon, and Inner Worlds. So a bunch of world splatbooks, a couple of adventures, and a gear supplement.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.

Humbug Scoolbus posted:

I, no lie, adore the Star Frontiers ruleset. It's remarkably clean and useable for a game that came out in 1982.
It's a breath of fresh air.

Like, one of the main playable races is amoeba people who form limbs as needed, and another is quadrupedal insects. Most games during that time would have given them their own hit location charts and a bunch of other stupid rules. In Star Frontiers, they just have a couple of racial abilities and they have HP and stuff like everyone else.

Only problem is it's kind of plain. It needs something like the skill system from BECMI to spice it up.

Humbug Scoolbus
Apr 25, 2008

The scarlet letter was her passport into regions where other women dared not tread. Shame, Despair, Solitude! These had been her teachers, stern and wild ones, and they had made her strong, but taught her much amiss.


Clapping Larry

Halloween Jack posted:

It's a breath of fresh air.

Like, one of the main playable races is amoeba people who form limbs as needed, and another is quadrupedal insects. Most games during that time would have given them their own hit location charts and a bunch of other stupid rules. In Star Frontiers, they just have a couple of racial abilities and they have HP and stuff like everyone else.

Only problem is it's kind of plain. It needs something like the skill system from BECMI to spice it up.

Zebulon's Guide and the Star Frontiersman eMagazine flesh out the skills nicely.

Midjack
Dec 24, 2007





MinistryofLard posted:

[b]Let's Review: Warhammer 40,000 Kill Team



I loved the 1E Necromunda, which was itself based on 2E 40K and I’m interested to see how this compares.

Separately, up until the Zeky I was generally sympathetic toward Prometheans but after reading those characters I’m now in the “kill all Frankensteins” camp.

The Lone Badger
Sep 24, 2007



The fact that they're appearing in Night Horrors implies they're among the worst of the worst of their kind. Like the woofs in their book.

ChaseSP
Mar 25, 2013



Not like you need much reasoning to want to kill them, given their very existence makes you hate/obssess over them in some fashion. I don't recall if other people are immune to their Disquiet but I'm pretty sure any other supernatural splat dealing with a promethean at the very least would want them to leave as soon as possible so they don't ruin the place they are currently living/ruling/patrolling over.

The Lone Badger
Sep 24, 2007



Wolves in particular would see "looks human but wrong, and has strange powers" and leap directly to conclusions.

Joe Slowboat
Nov 9, 2016

Higgledy-Piggledy Whale Statements





Mages are explicitly not immune to Disquiet (in 1e).

Which leads to a Silver Ladder theorist circulating a proposal to mass-produce Prometheans as servants for humanity. Aka 'hahaha wow that's the worst idea ever imagined by the Silver Ladder, which is an impressively competitive category.'

That Old Tree
Jun 23, 2012

nah





05 — Geist: the Sin-Eaters 2nd Edition — Character Creation, Part 1: Sin-Eaters
:spooky::ghost: Trait me like garbage. Really nice garbage. :ghost::spooky:

“If you are silent about your pain, they’ll kill you and say you enjoyed it.”
—Zora Neale Hurston

Geist is a game about people and all the complexities that drive them to act, particularly within a world full of impersonal injustice that oppresses everyone with a sense of casual utility. What intersection of self-interest and empathy is necessary to turn someone into a revolutionary? Let’s boil all that down into a handful of phrases and a series of numbers.

Welcome to character creation! :dogcited:



YER TRAITS ARE BASIC
Like most games you’ll want to have a rough concept in mind before beginning, which will be better informed by content we’ll cover in the next post. Advice peculiar to Geist is to think about your character from the two distinct perspectives of what they were like in life and what they are like in “death.” Did their death transform them totally, or did it merely bring new focus to what they’ll keep doing with themselves? Have they taken the chance to continue or even improve their old life, or abandoned it completely to begin anew?

The first traits you’re asked to define are Aspirations, short phrases that outline character arcs you’d like to see your character go through. These aren’t necessarily what your character aspires to accomplish; they can be things that they’d really rather not happen. It can be the character’s personal goals or simply what you, the player, want to see happen to them. Each player character should have one long-term Aspiration and two Short-term Aspirations. You’re expected to make significant headway toward an Aspiration about once per session, which will earn you a Beat (which is one-fifth of an Experience).

You don’t have to agonize over them, or even nail them down before the start of the game. They’re meant to change over time as you progress through and resolve them, and you can even just get rid of them and choose new ones if they don’t work out.

After that, you assign your Attributes, Skills and Specialties. The former two are fixed traits rated by one to five dots, while the latter are specific areas of expertise under a Skill. For most actions you’ll combine an Attribute and Skill, rolling that many ten-sided dice. Specialties add +1 die when they apply. Every die showing 8+ is “a success” and, most of the time, you can re-roll 10’s to try for more successes. That’s known as “10-again”, and other dice tricks exist such as 9-again, 8-again, or rote where you re-roll every non-success die once.

You just need one success to accomplish a task, but if you get five or more that’s an “exceptional success.” If you attempt something and your dice pool is reduced to 0 or less, you’ll roll a “chance die” where only a 10 is a success and you don’t re-roll for a success. Rolling 1 on a chance die, or voluntarily making a regular failure worse in exchange for earning a Beat, is a “dramatic failure” that can really gently caress you up.


”Oh my god, my twin is also in this hospital!”

SIN-EATER TEMPLATE
Now it’s time to add the magic. Choose your Burden, the principal circumstance of your death that attracted your geist, made you accept the Bargain and informs what you’re going to do with your second chance. You get an extra Aspiration that ties your life, death and Burden all together. Unlike a regular Aspiration, resolving your Burden Aspiration grants you a dot of Synergy (your power stat) and increases your geist’s Rank by 1 (your geist’s power stat). Each Burden is also associated with three Affinity Haunts, which are your magic power sets that a given Burden gets an Experience cost discount on. Finally, you should choose an Innate Key associated with your Burden and death, which among its powers allows you to boost your Attributes, regain Plasm (magic points) and open Avernian Gates. You’ll gain another Innate Key from your geist, and can access more Keys through Mementos or by eating other geists.

Oh, and this isn’t mentioned anywhere in the character creation section, but all Sin-Eaters gain free access to a handful of Ceremonies: Bestow Regalia, Krewe Binding, Speaker for the Dead, and Pass On. Ceremonies are rituals for dealing with the dead that are used to define the specific faith of a krewe, but can also be known and practiced by individuals. They aren’t even necessarily overt magic, as many of them are performed regularly by mundane religious organizations. You can learn more Ceremonies as Merits, or you can use the Ceremonies of your krewe as long as your initiation rank equals their rating.

We’ll get into more detail on Burdens, Haunts, Keys and Ceremonies in later posts.

You have one dot of Synergy, your power stat that determines how many magic points you can hold as well as how many points you can spend in a turn. It also tends to figure into dice pools for magic powers and similar actions. Really high Synergy also allows you to increase Attributes and Skills above five dots. Many of the things ghosts do relate to their Rank, and Sin-Eaters have an effective Rank equal to the lower of your Synergy or your geist’s actual Rank. Your Synergy reflects how closely you are bonded with your geist, and that in turn helps determine what happens when your geist wants you do something that you won’t do. I’ll cover that in more detail when we get to geist creation.

Like most Chronicles games you can “spend” or lose dots of your power stat in order to achieve certain effects. The most typical for these games, creating magic items, is here, but you also lose Synergy when you eat other ghosts to stock up on Plasm, when you drink from the Rivers of the Underworld, or when you die and your geist has to bring you back to life again. If you wind up at Synergy 0, you lose most of your cool powers and can, you know, die for reals. You can’t buy yourself back up from Synergy 0 with Experiences. You’ll have to either complete a Remembrance (we’ll look at those under geist creation) or, if you’ve previously reached Synergy 3 and gotten your geist’s Remembrance Touchstone (also more below) you can smash it and switch to Tyranny, gaining one dot in that trait, where you’re less like a partner and more like a master to your geist.

Plasm are, as I’ve said before, your magic points. It’s also the “physical” substance of the world of the dead, so, uh. You’re filled with ghostflesh! It can appear in the material world for a number of reasons, perhaps most often when a ghost Manifests in various ways. It typically appears as a milky-white goo, though it can also be thicker and comes in all kinds of gross colors associated with death and rot. Sin-Eaters can consume it to add it to their pool of power points, but in this case “consume” doesn’t just mean “eat” but can include smoking or injecting it. Consuming Plasm is subject to the same per-turn limit as spending it. Consuming Plasm in a situation resonant with a Sin-Eater’s death grants a couple of bonus points that can take you over your maximum pool, though any excess disappears at the end of the scene. Plasm left behind by a ghost who “moves on” totally refills your pool.

Obviously, you can spend Plasm to produce cool effects, often in the course of using Haunts. Innate powers for every Bound include accessing the Remembrance Traits of your geist, or coating something in it to make the subject “Open” to ghostly powers. One of a Sin-Eater’s beefiest powers is healing with Plasm, because they can downgrade any type of damage one step for one Plasm, or shed Tilts from physical harm for more, reflexively and ignoring their per-turn limit. While this can get expensive, it’s readily available to all Bound and is only stopped by wounds inflicted by their geist’s Bane.

Unlike normal people’s Virtue and Vice, you have a Root and a Bloom. These are the main ways you’re likely to regain Willpower points, an expendable source of hero points for getting some bonus dice on an action or fueling strong magic. Examples include Advocate, Antihero, Enabler, Pollyanna and Servant, but you’re encouraged to come up with your own.

Root Basics posted:

  • Quick and Easy: Once per scene, when your Root leads you to give precedence to the dead or your own death, regain 1 Willpower.
  • Grand Gestures: Once per story, when your Root leads you to risk your life or your status in the living world for the dead, or to protect the dead from the living at great risk or cost to yourself, regain all spent Willpower.

Bloom Basics posted:

  • Quick and Easy: Once per scene, when your Bloom leads you to ignore the dead or your own death to tend to the living, regain 1 Willpower.
  • Grand Gestures: Once per story, when your Bloom leads you to risk your life or your status among the dead to tend to the living, or to protect the dead from the living at great risk or cost to yourself, regain all spent Willpower.

I won’t wait for the commentary section to note that, while this is in some ways more generous than typical Virtue and Vice, it seems a little too harsh restricting full Willpower recovery to once per story (multiple game sessions defined by a story arc) instead of once per chapter (a single game session). I suspect this may be a mistake.

You also have Touchstones, one based on your Burden to start out with, then at Synergy 3 one tied to your geist’s Remembrance, and finally at Synergy 6 one that represents what you desire to change about the Underworld. When you’re making an effort to pursue and protect a Touchstone you get +2 Synergy dots; when you’re pursuing two or more Touchstones, you get +3 dots. These dots don’t count towards how many Touchstones you can have or increase your traits past the normal cap, but otherwise act as normal Synergy dots, increasing your Plasm pool and adding to relevant dice pools. If you resolve a Touchstone, your geist gains 1 Rank.

Like your Root and Bloom you should feel free to come up with your own, but the book provides some examples. Maybe you keep the community center going, or you’ve become an alcoholic like your geist was in life, or perhaps you’ve developed a relationship with your neighbor after you left your old life behind.

FINISH HIM
Apart from figuring out derived traits like Health or Speed, your last step is figuring out your Merits. Merits are a catch-all for stuff like a character’s social capital, liquid finances, or being very attractive looking. You also buy individual access to Ceremonies as if they were Merits. On top of the 10 dots of Merits you get, Sin-Eaters start with two Merits for free: Medium and Tolerance for Biology. Medium is what “normal” people use to contact the dead or other kinds of spirits, which for the purposes of simple communication tends to be inferior to a Sin-Eater’s inherent ability to see and hear immaterial ghosts. However, it can also be used to “Open” an area, making it easier for ghosts to use their powers there. Tolerance for Biology just means you’re not particularly phased by gross-out stuff like blood and guts. Sin-Eaters also get a free dot of Mystery Cult Initiation (see below) as long as they don’t opt-out of starting with a krewe.

Geist has a pretty brief list of Merits compared to most of the other games, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. There’s still a good amount here, and you can look to other books if you really needed five more fighting styles. Geist also introduces a more robust set of keywords for Merits. Where previously there was pretty much just “Style” to denote a fighting style (itself a definition stretched to breaking in some game lines), here we’ve got “Shared” which formalizes a piecemeal rule from previous books allowing player characters to pool Merit dots for a mutual benefit like a hideout, or Krewe and Krewe-only which are Merits that can (or can only) be bought by your death cult. Some Merits also have special extra effects depending on your Burden.

Here are some highlights:

  • Architect: You get a pool of extra dice for extended actions to build things, and any given roll that benefits also gets 8-again. If your Burden is Abiding, your bonus dice also count as part of your “base” pool for determining how many rolls you get to make before the project fails.

  • Cenote: You’ve got easy access to a spooky place where you can harvest a regular source of Plasm.

  • Dread Geist: Your geist is Rank 4 instead of Rank 3. I’m kind of iffy on how worth it this is considering how many other, in-the-course-of-play parts of the game involve increasing your geist’s Rank.

  • Grave Goods: You have a collection of ghostly, otherwise-mundane items. Sin-Eaters and ghosts can use them for their normal functions, including stuff like connecting to phone networks or the internet, even though they’re ephemeral and invisible to normal people. You can eat these items for Plasm. Once per chapter, Sin-Eaters with the Hungry Burden regain all their Willpower when they pull out a ghostly frying pan!

  • Manic States: I am not a fan of this Merit. It’s a little too vague to totally nail down, but it seems to be trying to model a semi-real manic-depressive cycle, it’s not magical, so it’s basically “mental illness super-powers” which I’m not a fan of. I would’ve preferred something more focused on a sort of religious ecstasy, especially considering how krewes are literal religions.

  • Memento: The magic item type for Sin-Eaters, they’re physical objects with a ghostly Twilight presence. This Merit costs a flat three dots per Memento, and they are all relatively mundane items but with some weird spooky trick: an oxygen tank that suffocates you but gives you crazy hallucinations, a phone that works anywhere as long as it’s underwater, or a hearse that can pass through any Avernian Gate as long as it’s going at top speed. All Mementos that can be worn as clothing count as armor. If your Plasm is getting low you can refill it by feeding a Memento to your geist.

    Mementos are impossible to harm or destroy by accident, and they’re extra tough against deliberate harm. Most Mementos are created in the presence of some major death resonance like a grisly murder, which gives it an appropriate Key that a Sin-Eater can use as long as they wield the object. Some Mementos are weirder things that came from the Underworld into the land of the living. Sin-Eaters can also deliberately create a Memento at the cost of a dot of Synergy. Sin-Eaters and ghosts inherently recognize a Memento for what it is and what its Key is.

    There is a sidebar about rumored “Greater Mementos”, like a Roman trireme that never takes more than a day to go from one port to another in the Mediterranean, or a watch that makes you ageless. There are no specifics or mechanics for these though. I suspect we’ll see more in the companion book stretch goal from the Kickstarter.

  • Mystery Cult Initiation: You’re part of a cult! This grants bonus Skill dots and Specialties at lower ranks, and bonus Merits at higher ranks, based on the particulars of your cult. Krewes are cults and your membership in them in represented with this Merit, which also grants you access to the krewe's Ceremonies with a dot rating equal to or less than your initiation rating.

  • Phantom Limb: You lost a body part but its ghost is still attached to you! This doesn’t do a ton to help you out in normal material reality, but it has various effects interacting with ghosts and Twilight, and when you enter the Underworld it’s like you never lost the body part. My favorite is “leg” because you can “lockpick” Avernian Gates by kicking them open.

  • Retribution: This is a “fighting style” where you get bonuses when you’re out for vengeance, from tracking down a villain to emptying your clip at them. If your Burden is Vengeful you get 8-again on any rolls using these abilities.


If your gun is too stringy, try adding lemon juice.

COMMENTARY
While to some degree we all come here for the numberwang, it’s hard to be as effusive as I’d like to be about a bunch of basic trait explanations and charts. Of course, I have a variety of :siren: Opinions :siren: about how layout, organization and rule-making should be done, but most of these concern what’s basically the trade dress of Chronicles at this point, or even “just how it is” for traditional RPGs in general. Let’s leave that boring, sadsack poo poo aside.

Geist does a pretty good job of tying your character into the basic premise of the game. Root, Bloom and Touchstones are good motivators for being a mediator between the living and dead worlds. The toys that really sell the Sin-Eater experience are in later posts, but the fundamentals here are a good start. One specific thing I’ll call out for praise is breaking out rules into summary bullet points at the end of the sections about them. Geist is the first Chronicles game to do this, and hopefully not the last. It’s a good move, especially for games with this level of interconnected complexity.

Next Up: Let’s talk about geists, bay-bee, let’s talk about krewes and XP.

That Old Tree fucked around with this message at 08:48 on Oct 1, 2019

Libertad!
Oct 30, 2013

You can have the last word, but I'll have the last laugh!

Geist 2e is still as a KickStarter, but is there a possible soonish release date? It seems like the workings of a complete book along with art in the review indicates so. I was meaning to read Changeling or Mage 2e after I finish Demon (which I need to get back to), although Geist 1e would've been next.

That Old Tree
Jun 23, 2012

nah




Libertad! posted:

Geist 2e is still as a KickStarter, but is there a possible soonish release date? It seems like the workings of a complete book along with art in the review indicates so. I was meaning to read Changeling or Mage 2e after I finish Demon (which I need to get back to), although Geist 1e would've been next.

According to the last Monday Meeting Notes it's still undergoing indexing. I don't know how long it's been since that started, or how long whoever they use tends to take (or even if they have a regular indexer).

Maxwell Lord
Dec 12, 2008

I am drowning.
There is no sign of land.
You are coming down with me, hand in unlovable hand.

And I hope you die.

I hope we both die.


:smith:



Grimey Drawer



Buck Rogers XXVc: The 25th Century

Characters & Combat: Races part 1: Smooth Lions Are Eating Me
So, Races. Yeah that’s what they’re called- the book’s actually not clear as to whether or not all these genetically modified humans are still the same species. And this was back when TSR didn’t want to provoke the Satanic Panic types, so it goes without saying they don’t go into the question of what happens when these various types of altered humans get mad rutty.

So the Races are divided into two categories. Terrans, Martians, Lunarians, Venusians, and Mercurians are separate races but all still considered “human”- they’re at most mildly altered from the basic human genotype to adapt better to certain conditions. The second category, “gennies”, short for genetic mutants, are heavily modified to live in extreme conditions- the bottom of the sea, the poisonous Venusian lowlands, even deep space.

Some of them even have trouble living outside of these environments. In one brief section they float the idea that you might even have different characters to play if the campaign takes you to the surface of Venus or the ocean floor, so you can switch to a Lowlander or Delph, leave them behind when the campaign goes elsewhere, and just have them in reserve. Not a lot is done with this concept in the rest of the game, but it’s neat to see- Ars Magica had troupe play in 1987 and so this may be an early example of “new concepts in game design flowing over to TSR.”

Terrans are up first. They’re the least modified of the human species, adaptable to a wide variety of environments. As mentioned before in this overview, Earth in the 25th century kinda sucks. Most people are living in bombed out sprawls ruined by war in the 23rd century, overrun by gangs who constantly fight each other over food and supplies. Some fortunate Terrans live in arcologies, giant self-sufficient fortresses isolated from the chaos of the outside world. The drawback to this is that most of the arcologies are oppressive societies ruled by RAM puppets, along with centuries of isolation and the inevitable problems those bring along. Terrans get a +1 to Con and Wis, and a +1 to saving throws vs. Paralysis/Stun/Fall. (Saving throws have been altered to fit a sci-fi setting but we’ll get to those later.)


Martians are the yuppie scum of the Solar System. Mars is directly ruled by the corporate state of RAM, and pretty much every Martian’s life is tied to it in some way. Martians are tall (6-7 feet), slender, with slightly larger eyes and ears and wide nostrils to improve their breathing in the still-thin atmosphere. Martian upper classes like to get into gene-tailoring for aesthetics so they tend to be pretty good looking. Mechanically, Martians kinda suck. They have +1 to Dex and Cha, but -1 to Strength, Con, and Wis, and their saves aren’t great either. They are said to have slightly better vision and hearing but there’s no real mechanical bonus to that I can see (and the lower Wis score works against this.) There’s talk about how RAM gives you access to tech and manpower but that’s pretty much for the bad guys- for PCs it’s actually harder because the rest of the solar system thinks of you as one of Them, and you have to conceal your true loyalties from other, more RAM-friendly Martians. So not a lot of incentives to play one honestly.


Lunarians live in mostly-subterranean cities on the moon, and are a fiercely independent, even neutral people, mostly descended from European colonists. They’re short (4-5 feet tall), light, and have pale, hairless skin and slightly larger, more sensitive eyes. They’re compared a lot to the Swiss, they’ll handle anyone’s money, but strictly forbid any military ships landing on the moon. Lunarians get +2 to Intelligence and +1 to Dexterity, with -2 to Strength and -1 to Constitution. Their big drawback is agoraphobia- they’re used to living in small spaces and NPC Lunarians dragged out into the open with nothing but sky overhead need to make Wisdom checks to not freak out. PC Lunarians are assumed to be a little more under control but it’s supposed to be something to keep in mind when role-playing one.


Venusians can be divvied up into three main groups. The Aerostaters live up in the clouds in floating dirigible cities, mostly traders and herdsmen for the floating Krakens, tentacled gasbags who serve as a source of meat. They’re described as “aerial [slur for Romani]”, with flashy clothes and lots of festivals and family rites and superstitions and so on. I mean they’re not criminals or possessed of Actual Magic Powers so it’s not too bad I guess. Aphroditians live on the continent of, well, Aphrodite, and are mostly finers and miners living in an oligarchy controlled by wealth families, descended from the original colonists- they’re considered stubborn and hot-tempered. The Ishtarians control most interplanetary trade due to controlling the New Elysium spaceport, and they’re a theocracy with life centered around the Temple (though not puritanical, more mildly ascetic.) All Venusians tend to be vaguely “Asiatic” in appearance, with small eyes and ears and long, thick hair. There’s no mechanical difference between the three groups. All Venusians get +1 to Con and Wis, -1 to Dex and Cha. (Why these modifiers I’m not even sure.)

Mercurians are an interesting mix of colonists from other worlds but with some tailoring to live in the superheated planet’s underground warrens. You’ve got the Sun Kings, super-rich owners of the energy-collecting Mariposa satellites, who own much of the land below- these are flamboyant, gaudy types, the “Rich Kids of Tumblr” of the 25th Century. The Miners of Mercury live in the warrens, which aren’t quite as cramped as on the moon- no agoraphobia here- and while they’re more working class they still like to live fancy. The Musicians are the traders and merchants (it’s not even clear why they’re called Musicians since they’re not especially accomplished in the arts), and then there are the Desert Dancers. These people live on the surface, in giant enclosed arcologies that roll on tracks around the planet, travelling between solar arrays and staying out of the sun. They’re described as having vaguely Arabic styles, and actually are accomplished in the arts, with lots of famous writers, poets, musicians, etc.

All Mercurians, despite their polyglot origins, are a bit short, stocky, and tend towards dark skin. Distinct Martian and Venusian traits got kinda bred out over the years so they mostly look Terran. Mercurians get +1 to Dex and Con and -1 to Str. As saves go they’re very resistant to Heat and Radiation, and very vulnerable to Cold. They also get slight bonuses to saves versus Paralysis/Stun/Fall and Suffocation.

And now, the Gennies. Gennies still come from human stock and are sentient, but have much more extreme mods to fit in specific niches.


Image from a later supplement, for the sake of reference

Tinkers are small (2-3 feet), furry gray humanoids engineered to work in ducts and hatchways and so on. Most of their genetic modification comes from lemurs and gibbons, giving them long reach and finer skill in manipulation; they also have very large eyes which let them see in total darkness. On top of which they just ended up being very good at technology, naturally curious with a certain knack for fixing stuff. They naturally suffer from being thought of as pets, which they loving hate. Tinkers get +3 to Tech and Dexterity, and -2 to Strength and Constitution.

Workers were bred by RAM to do the grunt work of the corporation. They’re short, stocky, with rough, gray-ish skin, bred for strength at the expense of everything else. They’re mostly bred from primate stock but rumor has it that RAM snuck in some homo habilis genes while they were at it. Workers are basically slaves, living in prison-like compounds with no culture or religion to speak of. Workers have +3 to Strength and Constitution, -3 to Charisma, -2 to Intelligence, and -1 to Wisdom and Tech. An even bigger drawback is that they subsist on a special food paste, normally only available at their work camps. Going without it causes their Strength and Constitution to drop by 1 per day, until a score reaches 0 at which point they die. It only takes them one day to recover back to full strength after getting a new supply. There are somehow Workers who have made it to freedom, and PCs will be assumed to be one of these, with the game even kinda waiving the food requirement.


Another image from a later manual

Terrines are RAM’s genetically engineered shock troops, with coarse leathery skin, catlike eyes and ears, and sharp fangs; it’s not explicit what all animals they’re derived from but there’s definitely a bit of shark in there. The name comes from the fact that they were designed for use on Earth, but they can survive just about anywhere. They stand about 6-7 feet tall and weigh up to 300 pounds. They’re trained to do two things, kill and obey their Martian masters. “The first test of fitness for a novice Terrine is to plunge a knife into his own belly and survive the test. Almost all of them do.”

They get +2 to Str, Dex, and Con, -3 to Cha, -2 to Int, and -1 to Wisdom. On top of this they have a natural AC of 7 and their claws grant them unarmed damage of 1d6+3. The big drawback is they’re subject to battle rage- whenever they get into a fight, they have to make an Intelligence check. If they fail they fight either to the death or until they’re knocked out. PC Terrines- who naturally are renegades- get to make a second check if the first fails. Terrines also have great saves across the board.

Five more to go! Next Time: Lizard Men, Desert Runners, and Space Men!

Maxwell Lord fucked around with this message at 07:19 on Sep 26, 2019

rodbeard
Jul 21, 2005



Somebody needs to run this game so I can be a 3 foot tall fat monkey Fonzie.

MinistryofLard
Mar 22, 2013


Let's Review: Warhammer 40,000 Kill Team



Part 2: Fluff


Kill Team is introduced as a fast paced miniatures game about small but powerful bands of warriors having hard fought desperate battles. I appreciate that the manual explicitly tells you, on page one, that it is about creating a "cinematic tabletop experience... where every combatant counts and every model develops their own personality and history." This is part of the objective of pretty much every Games Workshop game, but in base 40K everything is constantly about the eternal meatgrinder of war in which the individual is not even a footnote - Kill Team is the only game where, in a campaign, I'll feel emotionally attached to the actual individuals and their narratives.

The Kill Team core manual kicks off with a brief description of the setting of 40K, in which a massive, galaxy spanning, decrepit fascist Imperium of Man is trapped in an endless war with it's enemies. 40K fiction and fluff tends to oscillate a bit on whether the Imperium is a) a lovely place and a satire of fascism or b) a lovely place that is simultaneously the only hope for humanity because the writers have crafted a setting where genocide and xenophobia is justified. Kill Team's fluff leans into the second more than the first, which is unfortunate. I won't spend too much time reiterating 40K lore, except where it relates to the game and the factions, but the Imperium is huge (exactly as big as it needs to be) and has been in an eternal war for 10,000 years. Everything is very grim and dark. Humanity worships the eternal God-Emperor who was a really mighty human space wizard who forged the Imperium, then got killed by his renegade son in a huge civil war and placed on an immortal Golden Throne which is either preserving or killing him. The Imperium uses their eternal God Emperor as a psychic lighthouse which guides their FTL travel, which has to go through Hell. The Imperium is served by it's Space Marines, who are Noble Space Knights and the only people allowed to have any agency in the 40K universe, the billions strong Astra Militarum AKA the Imperial Guard (regular human soldiers), and the Adeptus Mechanicus, who are space cyborg cultists who worship the Emperor as a fragment of the Machine God.

Given primary narrative billing is Chaos, personified by the Four Chaos Gods. Chaos really hates the Imperium, mostly because it does, and takes every effort to corrupt and destroy it. It's primary vehicle in its war are the forces of the Heretic Astartes, the Chaos Space Marines, who are the noble Space Knights that Chaos corrupted into its service, beginning the Horus Heresy which put the Emperor on the Golden throne. It also holds sway over teeming masses of cultists and renegade Imperial Guard, the latter of which gets no billing outside of the fluff, and also evil demons (called Daemons), who get a full army in 40K and eventually got a supplement in Kill Team. As far as the Heretic Astartes are concerned, their Long War against the Imperium is still going, and they are consumed with Hatred for the Imperium. This doesn't stand out much because everyone is consumed with hatred in the setting.

Also bessetting, and in most cases beset by, humanity are various races of aliens and xenos. There are the Aeldari, or space elves, which come in Regular, Dark, and Clown flavours. There's the Necrons (space Skeletors), who are waking up from their tombs from long before humanity was even a glint their ancestor's eyes, the everpresent Orks (green space football hooligans), and the Tyranids, an extra galactic legion of space locusts, and their worshippers, the pseudo-revolutionary Genestealer cults which rise up before them. There's also the T'au (the apostrophe is very important for IP purposes), who are blue Starfleet in that they want to absorb and civilise aliens rather than just exterminating them.

Everyone in the 40K universe always capital H Hates everyone else, including themselves, deliberately as a pretext so every army can fight every army, including their own. The Imperium is a constant mess of feuding factions who are more interested in their own advancement than the Imperium they ostensibly defend, except when Noble Space Marines are Noble and Exorcise the Corruption from within - 40K fiction has a bit of a glorification of fascism problem. Chaos is perpetually at war with itself, because the Four Chaos gods hate eachother only marginally less than the Imperium, and to get anything done they have to cooperate through gritted teeth - their followers hate each other, in many cases their patron gods, and 99% of the time themselves. The Xenos are no less fractious.

Recently, Games Workshop moved the storyline along and Chaos' lead commander, Abbadon the Despoiler, has achieved his goal for the last 8000 years and created a massive warp storm which has split the Imperium in half, meaning that the Imperium, which has been on the verge of falling the entire history of the game line, is now, uh, more on the verge of falling. A figurative son of the Emperor, the Primarch Roboute Guilliman, has come back from the dead and seized control of the Imperium. Everything is grimmer and darker than ever.

We get another few pages of fluff, about the kinds of skirmishes a Kill Team fights. Kill Team is about the desperate skirmish fights that underpin wars. Sometimes their mission is assassination, or destruction of a vital strategic or spiritual asset. Sometimes, your kill team is trapped behind enemy lines and must fight it's way out, or are scouts or raiders cutting off enemy lines. Sometimes, your protagonists are heroes, other times, they're brutal opportunists.

All fights between kill teams are explicitly close quarters firefights in tangled terrain - the fluff encourages you to litter the battlefield with terrain and obstacles. This is pretty necessary for the gameplay as well - the ruleset doesn't function unless terrain is dense. Every single shot and blade strike counts and could mean the difference between victory and defeat.

We get a sidebar on the Warp - the hell dimension in which Chaos thrives. All ships have to go through the Warp to achieve FTL travel. The Warp mutates everything it comes into contact with and messes with reality hardcore. In areas of heavy chaos activity, the Warp starts to bleed into reality, resulting in realspace turning into the same Hell. This is especially true in the Eye of Terror, which is where the Heretic Astartes fled to after the Heresy. Recently, the Eye of Terror has spilled out into realspace and partitioned the Imperium in half, forming the Great Rift. The planets on the other side of the Rift from Terra can't use the Emperor's psychic lighthouse to navigate the Warp, and the only way the Imperium can reinforce them is through two points which have withstood the rift. These are desperate times.

We get some more pages on the kinds of kill teams which are formed, which we've already written about, and the kind of missions they do. Missions range from the conventional - assassination, sabotage - through to the esoteric - ritual slaughter, summoning of a daemon. Sometimes kill teams are deliberately formed for a mission - other times, they are formed by desperate necessity. All Kill Teams must have a leader - sometimes by rank, by force, by custom or respect. Kill Teams further will have specialists, who are experts in their area. Kill teams and their components grow and develop through experience. We get another sidebar on Kill Team Agrippius, which is a sample Kill Team of Ultramarines (the Vanilla Space knights) who undertake a mission to kill a Chaos Space Marine cult leader. A leader, a sniper, a demolitions expert and a heavy weapons specialist work in close concert to kill destroy him, each leveraging their own specialist area of expertise.

There's another two pages of fluff on the theaters of war. Kill Team battles are meant to be the crucial turning points of campaigns. Wars in the 41st Millenium are fought with vast assets - billions upon billions of soldiers, uncountable numbers of vehicles, skyscraper sized war machines, and city sized spaceships. Kill Teams are used when a scalpel is more efficient then a nuclear weapon, but the stakes are always critically high - the actions of your Kill Team games are meant to change the fate of planets. Kill Teams do battle on any kind of battlefield - from the interior of a massive Ork scrap fortress, a dense jungle planet, buried catacombs,, industrial forge worlds and dense hive planets.

The key theme behind the fluff is that all of it makes your desperate, close battles much easier to bring a narrative behind. The tools are there to give the gameplay some narrative stakes, if you want to think of some, or a campaign, and leverage the emergent narrative from the gameplay.

Next Up: Rules

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Stuff like Kill Team, Inquisitor, and Necromunda has always been interesting. Heck, the one time I got to play the huge scale Epic version of 40k it seemed surprisingly well made, too. I always heard good things about Warmaster and Mordheim over in Fantasy and BFG is the only Games Workshop game I've ever owned and painted my own fleet for. The Specialist Games stuff is legitimately some pretty cool stuff.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018



Midjack posted:

I loved the 1E Necromunda, which was itself based on 2E 40K and I’m interested to see how this compares.

Separately, up until the Zeky I was generally sympathetic toward Prometheans but after reading those characters I’m now in the “kill all Frankensteins” camp.

Personally, I find Dawn incredibly sad and sympathetic, since she's basically a child who has no idea what she's...actually doing to people.

Red and Frances are both monstrous, tho, yes. (And the Demon Core is a real thing, which is neat.)

90s Cringe Rock
Nov 29, 2006
:gay:


A real thing that some people are way too into.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

That explains the video of the guy with the LED-lit replica I saw the other week. Kinda.

And Dawn is just tragic.

Flail Snail
Jul 30, 2019

Collector of the Obscure


I'm still trying to understand Death's arms.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018



Night Horrors: Enemy Action
Part 1: Spy Robot, Spy Robot



Enemy Action is the last (or...first, I guess) of the 2nd Edition Night Horrors books. Well, in the sense that Demon is a Chronicles of Darness/nWoD 2e game, since it never had a first edition. Like other Night Horrors titles, it is divided into chapters by type of antagonist. The themes of the book, we are told, are focused around the transactional, untrustworthy nature of relationships in Demon and the lines between alliance, friendship and betrayal. The mood is about living fast, chasing desires and knowing that tomorrow, you might die. The glamour of it all hides the horror behind the action.

Chapter 1 is about Demons themselves, the biomechanical master spies of the World of Darkness. Chapter 2 is about Angels, the loyal servants of the God-Machine. Chapter 3 is Exiles, those angels who ended up being abandoned by the Machine but who never made the choice to Fall and become demons. Chapter 4 is Cryptids, weird and mutated creatures caused by, in most cases, animals consuming or being affected by the occult fallout of God-Machine facilities and projects. Chapter 6 focuses on humans - Stigmatics who can see the Infrastructure, the Machine's sleeper agents and cultists of all stripes.

I would say that Enemy Action is overall quite good, but doesn't go as far afield as Shunned by the Moon or The Tormented did - in large part because it didn't need to. There was never a first edition, so there were no expectations already set by first edition books or an edition's worth of hints to draw on. Thus, it has to set those expectations itself. Plus, well, demons and angels are super customizable to begin with, and cryptids already pretty much take the role of "incredibly weird miscellany."

Next time: The Herald of the First, the Liberal Juggernaut

DAD LOST MY IPOD
Feb 3, 2012

Fats Dominar is on the case




if i were to run or play in a 2e promethean game featuring zeky i'd rather put in the (nominal) effort to port over the 1e iteration rather than 2e. all the subtlety has been ripped out of them, which i feel is wrong; now they're atomic bombs rather than radiation leaks. radiation as a metaphor is a slow, invisible poison that rots you from the inside out, and by the time you notice anything's wrong, it's too late.

there's a lot of intertwined mechanics and flavor to that effect in 1e, like the power that lets you literally hide inside a shadow, or the fact that Carcinomas tend to sink into shadows as well when dormant. that makes the zeky Torment, where they just spend Pyros like it's going out of style, much more shocking and dramatic: it's when that slow, building power erupts. even their disquiet feeds that, since a community in stage 1 or 2 of zeky disquiet is likely to seem quiet and peaceful, maybe too quiet and peaceful.

nope, now it's all radiation murder zombies and people keeling over after a five minute conversation.

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



Flail Snail posted:

I'm still trying to understand Death's arms.

Yeah, it looks like another species' Grim Reaper taking a soul.

GimpInBlack
Sep 27, 2012

That's right, kids, take lots of drugs, leave the universe behind, and pilot Enlightenment Voltron out into the cosmos to meet Alien Jesus.


Young Freud posted:

Yeah, it looks like another species' Grim Reaper taking a soul.

It's a geist whose arms have been broken in like a dozen places. Probably in whatever horrific incident killed them in the first place.

Geist, in general, have a tendency to still have the marks of the wounds that killed them. Other ghosts may or may not, depending on level of trauma and how strongly they associate their new identity with their death, but because geists are exaggerated by the rivers of the underworld, their Corpus almost always remembers the wounds that killed them.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018



Night Horrors: Enemy Action
Part 2: Electric Sheep


Not an angel. At all.

Brass is known by many names. The Speaker, Mister Clarion, the Serpent, Miss Scale - it doesn't matter. While many demons rely on a single alias to communicate with others of their kind, Brass feels no need to stop cycling between them. They are a nomad, traveling from city to city, but always with single goal. Brass' history and identity change each time they tell their tale, but their communications are consistent on two things: the Pentagram and the First Demon. (The Pentagram, introduced in the Demon Player's Guide, is a loose collection of demons that believe the true nature of the Cipher, the internal riddle that every demon has which unlocks custom powers, is actually fivefold, not four. They jailbreak their own natures to try to create this fivefold key, and it comes at great risk to them but can be very potent. Normal demons have three potential Interlocks, special unique powers, developed by combining four powers in sequence but a demon with a Pentagrammic Cipher has forced new ones existence with use of a fifth key power.)

Demons rarely care about mythic history, not even their own. They know the God-Machine creates and manipulates these myths for its own purposes, and so do many demons. However, many have at least heard of the First. Demonic legend holds that she was not the first angel - there were many of those before her. She was merely the first to become self-aware, and the first to Fall. Some say that she was infected by free will due to interaction with humanity, while others say the God-Machine literally built her to Fall. A few say it was due to some unknown other force interfering. Most accept that if she existed, her Fall was merely chance. The odds of a Fall had, prior to that, been so low that the Machine ignored them entirely. The First recognized her own impossibility, it is said, and knew she was likely to remain alone. She rebelled against this, refusing to be both First and last. She saw that despite being cut off, she was still an insignificant cog - but a cog in the wrong place can wreak untold havoc.

The First sacrificed everything - her mind, her body, her very existence - to return to the Machine on her own terms. She turned herself into a rogue subroutine, a virus in the God-Machine. Now, she whispers in the minds of angels, guiding them to their Falls. Those who believe this legend say the First is part of every demon and every angel, a core component now of the Machine itself. They say she is the source of the so-called Satan Signal that some demons claim to have received as a catalyst to their Fall. Most demons, however, believe the story of the First is a metaphor. Brass does not. Brass not only believes the legend to be literal truth, but sometimes claims they have spoken with the First personally, or that they are her physical avatar.

When Brass isn't claiming to be Demon Jesus, their stories tend to follow a certain pattern. They were once a scholarly demon studying other demons, everything from their quantum biology to their origins. That was how they learned about the First, though they initially believed her apocryphal. Brass studied the Cipher, and in doing so it completed its own Cipher - but they did not, unlike most demons, consider the secret revealed by completion of their Cipher to be useful or true. They were certain it was, in fact, incomplete. They'd heard rumors of the Pentagram, and they decided to test the Pentagram hypothesis. They shattered their Cipher, forming their new Interlocks and a new secret from the wreckage. While Brass is not reliable or consistent in their stories, they do regularly describe the Cipher and its secrets as a gift from the First to demonkind, though they insist that the final secret of the normal Cipher is either incomplete or an outright lie of the God-Machine, that only by completing the Pentagrammic Cipher can truth be revealed.

Brass' appearance, persona and methods change regularly, but their fanaticism is always clear. They often seek out other demons to speak of the First and the Pentagram, trying to recruit them to the cause. They sometimes even reach out to Integrators, those demons who seek to rejoin the God-Machine (on their own terms, usually), who are shunned by other demons. Brass wants them to more greatly value their free will. Brass regularly targets angels, trying to tempt them to Fall, which is a risky endeavor. They sometimes hire out help to kidnap angels, though they also sometimes actively avoid other demons when targeting angels. Their efforts often disrupt the Machine's occult matrices, but Brass is usually more concerned with freeing angels from slavery than in thwarting the Machine. There's exceptions - Brass has sometimes worked to bring a number of Saboteurs (the demons who want to destroy the Machine) together for combined projects to disrupt or attack Infrastructure they claim are used to make angels or reclaim captive demons.

Brass shifts Covers frequently, generally preferring those that allow mobility. Their current Covers include Emily Goldacre, the youngest daughter of a wealthy family who likes to travel the world, Old Scratch, a homeless man who hops trains, and sort of hitch-hiker spirit that drivers are compelled to pick up despite the terror it evokes, which Brass put together from fragments of ghosts they have encountered. Brass suffers from several glitches, most obviously a dark shape that follows them around like a shadow. This second shadow is hard to make out the shape of, but while it's humanoid, it has digitigrade legs, limbs that are too long, talons and horns. In demonic form, Brass is a beautiful, androgynous humanoid with metallic golden skin. Their skin is inscribed with an ancient language, forgotten by demons due, presumably, to having no more speakers. Their eyes are full of falling stars, and their unfurled wings appear to be moving tears in reality itself. Even in this shape, they are haunted by their glitch-shadow.

Some say Brass changes their stories so often because they are a liar, or they are insane, or they're trying to deceive the Machine. They may be a prophet or they may simply be mad or a con artist. Brass certainly isn't the First, though. Brass used to be an Inquisitor (read: the demons whose main goal is to gather as much information as possible to ensure their own safety) who used the name Argentum. Some demons might recall Argentum but would not recognize them as Brass, for their demonic forms are entirely different. Some demons watch Brass's movements under the guise of an online community of bird watchers discussing migration patterns. The map is incomplete due to Brass' secrecy, and they haven't yet realized the destinations are neither random nor arbitrary. Brass travels only to places where the God-Machine has active occult matrices in play to create new projects, rather than just maintaining the status quo. The pattern of movement also traces out an occult symbol, which Brass is following from the outside in. Each journey is shorter than the last. Even Brass is uncertain of what will happen when the pattern is completed. Last, Brass' habits of preaching are well known...but their habit of collecting corpses is not. Brass gathers the bodies of dead demons and angels, even clashing with groups such as the Deva Corporation over them. Brass is still a scholar studying the Unchained, after all, and hopes to learn something via dissections. They are also quite curious about Exiles and often seek them out and interview them, even those Exiles known to be sympathetic to the Machine or actively assisting angels.

Some believe Brass is actually possessed by something, which is why they can have a ghost Cover. Certainly, they are haunted by strange occurrences and glitches, though many are simply a result of their lifestyle being one that frequently compromises them. They don't match up with the signs of ghostly possession...but Brass' relationship with the First is certainly questionable, if the First actually exists. It's obvious Brass is not an Integrator, at least. Brass is not the only demon to claim to have spoken to the First after completing the Pentagrammic Cipher, but not all demons that do so hear her voice, and all of these self-declared heralds have not yet met or compared notes on what she said to them. Such a meeting might be at the center of Brass' wanderings. Some claim the Pentagram is a metaphysical disease, a vector for the First's viral form. This is untrue, but seeking the Pentagram is dangerous and potentially deadly. It also seems like the God-Machine guns for demons that have done so, though it may simply be because they are more frequently compromised.

Brass is intelligent, charismatic and strong-willed, but not especially physically potent. They can't really fight very well, either, focusing on investigative and public speaking skills. They know a lot about angels, though. Their demonic form is specialized in mobility, social awe and resistance to mental attack. Their wide array of Embeds make them especially good at distractions, avoiding notice and getting out of trouble by shifting it onto other people, as do their Exploits. Brass' main glitch is the horned shadow, but in their presence, everyone also suffers minor tinnitus that eventually resolves into not-quite-understandable whispers.

When Brass broke its original Cipher, it developed new Interlocks that are much more compromising and dangerous to use - both for Brass and everyone else nearby. The first Interlock, Voices In Your Head, combines the Embeds Special Message and Shift Consequence to let Brass telepathically send messages to anyone they can see - and to set them on loop to make it harder for someone to concentrate or suffer a breaking point - at the risk of the God-Machine intercepting them on a bad roll. The second, Exactly What You Want To Hear, combines Special Message and Heart's Desire to allow Brass to rewrite someone's goals, Virtue or Vice temporarily if they're willing to risk their Cover. The third, Whisper of the Succubus, combines Imagine and Heart's Desire to to force someone into obsessively following what Brass tells them will let them achieve their desires, possibly rendering them addicted to Brass' use of the power or repulsing them entirely. The fourth, Scourge of Hell, combines Imagine and Combustion to let Brass terrify people with visions of their own personal hell - as long as they don't resist well enough to reflect it back on Brass. The final Interlock, Spontaneous Combustion, combines Shift Consequence and Combustion let Brass overheat themself and take internal damage in order to teleport fire from one place to another - even onto people.

The final secret or Brass' Cipher is We are all one; to lose thee were to lose myself.


I would like to see the manager. Also, whoever drew her thinks that a peace sign is the Mercedes logo.

Clara Davies was a blogger on a free website, shouting her thoughts into the void. No one responded, and she began to grow cynical, frustrated and angry. Her message grew sharp, vicious teeth - and it began to be shared. To be popular. She easily moved on to podcasting, shouting about corporate America and Washington boys' clubs on a weekly show of passionate, merciless oratory. In an effort to go further, she interviewed a local cop who killed an unarmed child and became the center of a scandal of police brutality and racism. She broke him down, and he wept openly on her podcast, revealing the true feelings of pain and torment he felt each night, seeing the boy's face, rather than using his counsel's prepared statements. He begged God to let him go back and choose not to shoot the boy, to notice the phone in his hand was not a gun.

Overnight, Clara's podcast skyrocketed in popularity and fame. She interviewed anyone she could, revealing the truth behind their facades. She did video podcasts, finally letting her listeners see who she was. Hate groups targeted her over her mixed race and her love of video games, doxxed her and so on. She refused to relent, and others began to speak of her history in activism while attending university, the job she'd had in journalism before being sexually harassed out of the profession. Liberal American loved her and, eventually, a studio offered a TV show. Clara is working as hard as she can - and the demon inside her is terrified that the God-Machine still, somehow, has not noticed her. Her fame is all a tool for the one thing she truly wantS: to return to the beauty of grace in its fold.

Clara has an infectious smile, an easy and friendly demeanor and a talent for making people feel like they've known her forever. She's quick to share her stories, but never one-ups the people she's talking to. In political conversation, she becomes passionate and fiery, especially on social issues involving women or the environment. She rarely starts these talks herself, but they seem to flow naturally into her conversations. She is a respectful listener, but firm in her views, and she only uses her vicious wit to go after people once she's been attacked herself. At that point, she becomes ruthless and merciless in her mockery. On air, she has to wear a suit, but she prefers comfortable, casual outfits. She is never the most fashionable person at an event, and her hair is a mess of curls that won't obey. She tends to make people feel like she's their little sister, driving them to her defense, though she must often remind people she can hold her own. Breaking her laid-back demeanor is very hard...but it is possible, if you dig too deep into her childhood or ask too much about her time at school. She deflects these topics as quickly as she can, and if she can't, she will walk out of conversations. She doesn't respond to flirtation or advances from men, and if they don't give up, she will lambaste them. She has never talked about her sexuality in general.

Clara assumes her demonic form only when she absolutely must. It is a beautiful, feminine thing of copper wire and chrome. The wires sprout like hair from her head and wrap much of her torso up. Her skull tapers to a point, where platinum wiring flows into the mass of copper in streaks of silver, and her ears become air intakes, with small hatches to move them open or closed as her attention shifts. Her left shoulder has a chrome antenna wrapped in copper tubes, which connects to her ears and skull via small wires. At all times, small streaks of light flash under her skin, occasionally striking each other and becoming bright cascades. Clara has spent very little time pursuing her Cipher, being more focused on pleasing the God-Machine. Indeed, her efforts at her Cipher have frustrated her to the point that she's decided to just ignore it.

Local demons know Clara to be a useful and important source of information on God-Machine activities in the region, with contacts deep within even established Infrastructure. She can wield her mortal watchers as a tool to deliver messages on key locations without arising suspicion. In return for this, all she wants is to be kept in the loop on any major actions, so she can help out. If anyone ever discovered how firmly she was an Integrator and how very much she wishes she were still an angel, it might unleash a massive witch hunt. Clara hides her real feelings in a web of lies, misdirections and obfuscations. Her influence on mortal politics and her media savvy is so complete that she is easily able to hide the work of other demons, leaving most of them trusting her insofar as they trust anyone, and her subtle ability to direct angelic attention is so amazing that few - even the angels - are aware of when she does it. Clara does her best to watch and interpret the Machine's actions so she can figure out what it wants. When she sees demons closing on its works, she decides whether or not the operation is one the Machine can afford to lose. If so, she helps the demons. If not, she will misdirect them or send angels after them. She's been doing this for years now, and honestly is no longer sure if she Fell or was directed to Fall to become the God-Machine's sleeper agent.

Clara has spent years crafting her Cover to be exactly what it appears. Those that knew the real Clara back in high school, though, are confused about how she could have changed so much. She has stolen bits and pieces of other lives to add on to her original soul pact, and if examined too closely, the entire thing could fall apart. It'd take something like, oh, intense and widespread scrutiny of her life...but her position makes that a real risk. Some demons say she has files on every supernatural being in her city; this is mostly true. She uses the information to pressure and manipulate supernatural factions to accomplish her goals, and occasionally she'll sell some of her less sensitive profiles. The files are kept strictly offline, but smartphone can interface with her demonic form's antenna to access them remotely. Some rumors say Clara is actually keeping a pet vampire - a Nosferatu, specifically. She knows those exist from her time as an angel, and while she does not in fact keep a vampire in her basement, she does frequently contact the local Nosferatu for information trading. They tell her things, and she manipulates the media to help them secure their domains and extend their control of the city's underground secrets, as long as their goals don't conflict with her own.

Clara is very smart and manipulative, but physically average at best. She's a skilled investigator and scholar, but very much not a fighter. She does have amazing social skills, though, particularly when it comes to misdirection and journalistic reporting. Her demon form is focused on information gathering, mind reading and an extremely expansive set of perceptive abilities, and her Embeds and Exploits are primarily focused either on detecting information or getting people to incriminate themselves or otherwise become the target of social ire. Due to a persistent glitch, high-frequency sounds cause her physical pain, and while she suffers it her voice sounds electronic.

Next time: The Southside Ghoul, By The People

Gerund
Sep 12, 2007

He push a man




GimpInBlack posted:

It's a geist whose arms have been broken in like a dozen places. Probably in whatever horrific incident killed them in the first place.

Geist, in general, have a tendency to still have the marks of the wounds that killed them. Other ghosts may or may not, depending on level of trauma and how strongly they associate their new identity with their death, but because geists are exaggerated by the rivers of the underworld, their Corpus almost always remembers the wounds that killed them.

Is there a factional trait associated there, where this Giest is the Grimmist Reaper of Falling On Your Face With Your Hands Out, or are these echoes of their demise just a fun flavor trait?

JcDent
May 13, 2013

Give me a rifle, one round, and point me at Berlin!


Mors Rattus posted:

Clara has spent years crafting her Cover to be exactly what it appears. Those that knew the real Clara back in high school, though, are confused about how she could have changed so much. She has stolen bits and pieces of other lives to add on to her original soul pact, and if examined too closely, the entire thing could fall apart. It'd take something like, oh, intense and widespread scrutiny of her life...

Wait, wot's a soul pact? How do fallen demons construct their cover anyways?

wiegieman
Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion




JcDent posted:

Wait, wot's a soul pact? How do fallen demons construct their cover anyways?

They make demonic pacts for parts of people's lives, hence the name.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018



JcDent posted:

Wait, wot's a soul pact? How do fallen demons construct their cover anyways?

A soul pact is when a demon buys someone's soul. Once that's done, at any point they can call in the debt and take the person's soul, hollowing it out and turning it into a new cover. That person ceases to exist entirely - no ghost, nothing. Otherwise, they can buy bits of someone's life and memories and staple them to preexisting covers to expand them.

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

Dawgstar
Jul 15, 2017



Brass makes me wish I was any good at thinking up Interlocks. Really, it's what keeps me from running the game.

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • Post
  • Reply